Power play in Meralco–who’ll save the Lopezes from Gloria?
May 4, 2008 § 10 Comments
A day after the denial of her underling, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo went on an offensive, openly declaring war against utility firm, MERALCO. Arroyo mask her intention of raiding this firm through the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), which she said, should ask or probe MERALCO for raising its electricity rates this month. The timing was extremely superb because it came at a time when talks of a corporate takeover was circling within the MERALCO boardroom which would be validated when the board meets on May 27.
Talks are rife that government, through the GSIS, is maneuvering to wrest complete control of the firm from the Lopezes. The oligarchic family controls just a fraction more than GSIS, which is 33.4%. Two presidents have attempted, yet failed, to take over the utility firm. One of them is Diosdado Macapagal, Gloria’s father. His failure led to his disastrous defeat at the polls against Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos turned against the Lopezes eventually. Corporate maneuverings did not work so Marcos employed another tactic–martial law. He arrested the Lopezes and forced them to give him their shares. It was only after EDSA 1 that the Lopezes were able to regain control, thanks to Cory Aquino.
Now, even at the twilight of her term, Gloria is trying to replicate what her father did, albeit, in a different manner. Part of her insidious plan is to temper public opposition of a takeover. So, it looks like the takeover is very sure already. Knowing Gloria, she’ll not do what she’s doing right now– publicly denouncing somebody and trying to court support from other oligarchs–if she and her mafia gang do not have a plan. They have a plan which they meticulously and patiently executed within a span of time.
GSIS president Winston Garcia, Gloria’s golden-haired boy, leads the charge. Should government wins in this battle, what would be the effects in other Lopez companies?
Surely, ABS-CBN channel 2 will be affected. For sometime now, ABS-CBN 2 has been losing millions of revenues due to stiff competition from main rival GMA 7. Though ratings are up, ABS-CBN 2 has past its prime, mainly due to its premium positioning which impacts on its bottomline. Sources say MERALCO has been subsidizing ABS-CBN 2. A government takeover would also mean some control over ABS-CBN 2.
So, expect a titanic battle come May 27 in the MERALCO boardroom.